|From President Kupchella: Thanks for the opportunity to serve with all of you|
In my last several months as President of the University of North Dakota I have taken a bit of time to reflect on how much the opportunity of serving as President has meant to me – and to Adele – over these nine years. Our experience as President and as First Lady has been wonderful, and we thank all who have helped make it so. We have enjoyed working with one of the finest groups of human beings ever to come together for a common purpose anywhere anytime.
It has been wonderful for us to have had some small role – even if primarily as cheerleaders in some cases – in great accomplishments by many great people over the last nine years. We watched our facilities staff manage the unprecedented development of our physical plant. If we include the Ralph Engelstad Arena, the Alerus Center built by the City of Grand Forks, nearly a half-billion dollars has been added to the asset base of UND. We take great pride in having seen our faculty and staff take our annual research and sponsored program base up over the $100 million mark. We have enjoyed the privilege of working with world-class Alumni Association and Foundation staff, Board members, and our new National Campaign Steering Committee, and seeing new records in private giving. We have seen the great effect and benefit of the generosity of such general benefactors as Ralph Engelstad, Norm Skalicky, Ray Rude, James Ray, Larry Jodsaas, the Hopper Danleys, and others. We also take some pride in having seen our enrollment services staff lead the effort to bring several thousand additional students to what is, today, arguably the most highly academically qualified student body in UND’s history. We have enjoyed working with a superb group of students and student leaders on many projects, and we have taken great joy shaking hands with more than 20,000 graduates, and sharing the joy with countless family members. It has also been great to see our academic leaders establish additional nationally recognized signature programs such as the one in Entrepreneurship. In all, it has been a thrill to have been a part of a large team of people moved UND to even more secure status as one of the nation’s very best public doctoral research universities.
When I was inaugurated in October 1999, the inauguration banquet was held downstairs in the Civic Center, and while the Civic Center was a fine building and it served the City well, it’s hard to imagine that with so many world-class facilities in Greater Grand Forks today, that the Civic Center was one of the best we had at the time. It has been wonderful to see all the growth and development and the vibrant progress made in Greater Grand Forks during the past 9-10 years. What a great community! We are so glad to have been a small part of what has happened in the Grand Cities.
Beyond Grand Forks, it has also been very gratifying to have participated in the implementation of the Higher Education Roundtable and the resulting alignment of North Dakota’s public colleges and universities with State government and the private sector. UND has had, along with the State’s other colleges and universities, an unprecedented opportunity to be a part of the shaping of a brighter future for all North Dakotans in so many important ways. It has been our honor to have worked with a great group of university presidents, State Board members, and system office staff.
To the State Board of Higher Education, to the faculty, to the staff, to the students, to UND alumni everywhere, to the people of North Dakota, the owners of the great university that is the University of North Dakota, we extend our sincere thanks and appreciation for the opportunity to serve with you.
As I hand the keys over, I believe the University is headed in a very positive direction and has a very bright future. I congratulate Bob Kelley (and Marcia Kelley) on Bob’s appointment as President of the University of North Dakota, and I am fully confident that he will – certainly with the help I know he will have – lead UND from where it is today to the next level.
We look forward to maintaining a close connection to North Dakota and to the University in the future. It’s been an enormous privilege for us to serve in the roles we’ve been given and for that, we will always be grateful.
Charles E. Kupchella